Illustration by Dongmei Chen
Our News, Your News
By Eric Abrahamsen, January 10, '22
Paper Republic is partnering with Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia, a journal at Ataneo de Manila University, to launch their newest double-issue focused on Nanjing Literature and Art.
This means two things: 1) you can attend the Zoom launch event by clicking on this link and registering. The event takes place January 11th, 4:30pm Manila time.
And 2), it means a new Read Paper Republic series of online short stories, and about time, too! We'll be publishing digital versions of the six short stories in this issue of PAHA, one a week, starting tomorrow. Free to read, as always. Please stay tuned for awesome new translations of Cao Kou, Su Tong, Han Dong, and Li Qiang!
By Jack Hargreaves, January 10, '22
We were very excited to see this tweet promising an upcoming Han Song publication from Amazon Crossing. While the book is a ways out from publication yet, we thought it would be interesting to talk to Gabriella Page-Fort, Editorial Director of Amazon Crossing, who acquired the title, and ask her a few quick questions about how and why she picked it up. Now we’re looking forward to it even more!
By Jack Hargreaves, January 9, '22
Happy New Year everyone! We hope you've found time for rest, relaxation and recuperation over the festive period -- a slowing down of things, if only briefly. And with another new year only just around the corner, this is a period of transitions, whether smooth or difficult, so here we are with very little segue, the first feature of 2022, a conversation between Eric and the editor of a number of books we were over the moon to see will be coming out in translation next year.
But first, remember to sign up here if you'd like to receive this newsletter in all its email glory!
In fact, signing up is the only way you're going to have longer features like this one laid out top-to-tail for your perusal. Otherwise, we'll be posting them on a separate page on the site for you to access, like this month's conversation which you can find here!
Also, tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan 10) marks the launch of a new collab, with Perspectives in the Arts and Humanities Asia: a special double issue on Nanjing literature & art, from which we'll be publishing six new translations of work by Nanjing authors, including Han Dong, Su Tong and Cao Kou. So make sure to check the website every Tuesday over the next few weeks to catch the newest instalment in our Read Paper Republic series.
And in other news:
Bernardini's arrest was reported in the news across the world on Jan 6th - an Italian who worked at Simon & Schuster, he also translated Rao Pingru's "Our Story" into Italian.
The comic novel, The Adventures of Ma Suzhen, was written during a highpoint in the popularity of xia "knight-errant" fiction. It is an action-packed tale of a young woman who takes revenge for her brother, Ma Yongzhen, a gangster and performing strongman, who has been murdered by a rival gang in China's most cosmopolitan city, Shanghai. After publication of the book in 1923, the character of Ma Suzhen appeared on stage, and subsequently in a film made by the Mingxing Film Company. The book version translated here, displays a delightful combination of the xia and popular"Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies" genres, with additional elements of Gong'an "court case" fiction. The translation is followed by an essay that explores the background to the legend of Ma Suzhen - a fictional figure, whose exhilarating escapades reflect some of the new possibilities and freedoms available to women following the founding of the Chinese Republic.
Translation and essay by Paul Bevan. Published by Springer Link, December 2021
By Nicky Harman, December 13, '21
There’s good and bad news this year. The good news is that books translated from Chinese have won an encouragingly wide selection of translation prizes and awards. For the first time, we have listed them below in different categories: prizes, awards and ‘other successes’. The not-so-good news is that, as in previous years, women writers and women poets are far less well-represented than men. The gender imbalance in all categories is shocking!
As usual, please let us know if you’d like to add books, star reviews and awards that we may have missed off the lists. Finally, we’re delighted to be able to add links to lists of books translated from Chinese into other languages. (Do let us know if there are more we can include.)
An online exhibition of seven short films from the Tibetan, Mongol, Uyghur, and Ewenki filmmakers and meeting up with the filmmakers, this Saturday, 11 Dec, 13:00 – 15:00 GMT
By Jack Hargreaves, December 6, '21
Hello and happy holidays y'all. I say that now, since the newsletter has settled into a regular monthly release for the time being, and this is the last you'll hear from me until the New Year. In the meantime, the PR team will get to planning the features for 2022, so if there's a subject you'd like to see us zoom in on -- be it an author, upcoming release, recent trend, anything Chinese lit related really -- please send your suggestions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and remember, you can sign up for the email version of this newsletter here.
My choice picks from this edition are, in no particular order, Chaoyang Trap House's evolving dictionary of the Chinese internet, because it taught me a new phrase, the new episode of "Sinophone Unrealities", because Natascha Bruce, Dorothy Tse and birds, and the LitHub excerpt from Lydia Davis' new book of essays on translation, because, well, because...
"In translating, you are forming phrases and sentences that please you at least to some extent and most of the time. You have the pleasure of working with sound, rhythm, image, rhetoric, the shape of a paragraph, tone, voice. And [...] you have this writing pleasure within the island of the given text, within its distinct perimeter."
On to 2022!
By Jack Hargreaves, November 12, '21
Hi all, sporadic newsflash time. Last week was the American Literary Translators Association conference, so for something a little different before the links, I thought I'd speak to fellow ALTA mentee, Jenna Tang (Chieh-Lan Tang), about her work.
Under the guidance of editor and translator Mike Fu, Jenna has been translating Taiwanese author Lin Yi-Han’s debut novel Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise, which, as an unflinching depiction of rape culture and misogyny as foundational to social stability, was instrumental in the start of the #MeToo Movement in Taiwan. Jenna has already finished the translation and is on the lookout for a suitable publisher, so watch this space.
Jenna chose the book because of how close to home its contents feel for her. She attended the same university as Yi-Han and says she can relate to experiences the author describes of corruption within the Taiwanese educational system and of the dangers that haunt female students day to day yet constantly get overlooked.
Jenna's plan now that the program has come to an end, besides enjoy the conference this week and continue her literary translation journey, is to start a column about literary translation, multilingualism, and home & languages, focusing more on her own writing as well as giving space to spotlighting the work of other translators with book reviews. Again, watch this space!
Thanks Jenna! Looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future, we'll always feature it here.
We'll be developing this editorial feature in future issues, so please share if there is anyone/anything you'd like us to talk to in more detail. And if you'd like to receive those future issues straight into your inbox, remember to subscribe here.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Join the author and translators Nicky Harman and James Trapp for the launch of Open-Air Cinema, Su Tong's newest collection of Sanwen in translation.
When this narrative nonfiction book was published in China in 2010, it sold more than 250,000 copies. With its impassioned criticisms of the despair and hardships of life in China’s countryside, now sensitively rendered in English by Emily Goedde, some might wonder if such a book could be published today. But Liang’s scholarship, which spans reportage, criticism and analysis, is fair-minded and sanguine; she is already working on a third instalment (a second was published in China in 2013, to great acclaim).
Part of the full list of longlisted titles, in alphabetical order, is as follows:
Nana Ekvtimishvili, The Pear Field, translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway (Peirene Press, 2020)
Annie Ernaux, A Girl's Story, translated from French by Alison L. Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020)
Jenny Erpenbeck, Not a Novel, translated from German by Kurt Beals (Granta, 2020)
Yan Ge, Strange Beasts of China, translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang (Tilted Axis Press, 2020)
Hiromi Kawakami, People from My Neighbourhood, translated from Japanese by Ted Goossen (Granta, 2020)
Mieko Kawakami, Breasts and Eggs, translated from Japanese by Sam Bett and David Boyd (Picador, 2020)
Esther Kinsky, Grove, translated from German by Caroline Schmidt (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020)
Camille Laurens, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, translated from French by Willard Wood (Les Fugitives, 2020)
By Helen Wang, November 2, '21
With #COP26 underway, can we try and put together a list of Chinese fiction in English translation on themes of the environment and climate change? I'll start with a few links below, please add more in the comments!
By Helen Wang, November 2, '21
link to Bloomsbury Publishing website "An all-in-one craft guide and anthology, this is the first creative writing book to find inspiration and guidance in the diverse literary traditions of Asia. Including exemplary stories by leading writers from Japan, China, India, Singapore and beyond as well as those from Asian diasporas in Europe and America, The Art and Craft of Asian Stories offers an exciting take on the traditional how-to writing guide by drawing from a rich new trove of short stories beyond the western canon which readers may never have encountered before..."
By Jack Hargreaves, October 18, '21
Hi all! I'm going to keep the intro short here for the purpose of expediency - I have deadlines - but fear not, the next issue will contain a big, nutritious portion of editorial.
Top of the agenda are imminent events which will be missed if not signed up for ASAP. First to note is this year's symposium by the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing (happening this weekend!), and second is translator Christina Ng's online seminar "Translating Multilingual Texts", which Catapult have kindly offered our readers a 20% discount for, code below. This doesn't mean the other events are not worth attending, far from it, but I'll let you peruse the offerings below at your leisure.
New and aspiring translators, please direct your attention to the news that applications for the 2022 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program are open! I am now at the tail end of a mentorship with Jeremy Tiang and it has been, and I say this sincerely, a life-changing program. Get applying!
Beyond that there are shining reviews of new and upcoming books (and a not-so-shining review of Jia Zhangke's latest documentary), a story from the NEW PATHLIGHT ISSUE, extracts from Chen Qiufan's forthcoming book and from Chan Yu-Ko's Whisper, and a whole host of interviews with HK & Taiwan authors and translators. And, naturally, so much more... it's an exciting world out there isn't it!
Remember that you can sign up for the email version of this newsletter here and receive it straight into your inbox as soon as it comes out.
"Authors including Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Olga Tokarczuk, Max Porter, and Bernardine Evaristo lead the UK's Society of Authors’ appeal to see translators come out of the shadows and be credited on book covers. ... Within some 48 hours of being released by Jennifer Croft and Mark Haddon, the open letter issued by the Society of Authors – and backed by the American Authors Guild – has surpassed 1,400 signatures, each representing an author’s commitment to press her or his publisher to name #TranslatorsOnTheCover."
By Jack Hargreaves, September 21, '21
Autumn is here, a time of year I actually really like, and there's certainly a lot to celebrate at the moment! On a personal note, I might be able to travel to the American Literary Translator's Association conference next month, the virtual leg of which has already started. Then there's the approaching completion of a big Paper Republic project which a few of the members have been plugging away at for over a year by now, and which has involved contributions from tens of wonderful people at this point. Watch this space.
On top of those, it's what is, I suppose, an unofficial award season in the world of translated literature, or at least one of them. And there are plenty of congratulations to go around: Sanmao, Mike Fu, Can Xue, Karen Gernant, Chen Zeping, Ge Fei, Canaan Morse, Chiou Charng-Ting, May Huang, Tracy K. Smith, Changtai Bi, David Hinton...
There are also a number of exciting events coming up, one of which involves Nicky Harman, in conversation with Jun Liu, and another which will be led by Jennifer Wong. Booking information can be found via the links below.
Last but not least -- although this is a different kind of announcement to the ones above -- if you are an author, translator, publisher or organisation with a Chinese-literature related event coming up and you'd like to share some information about it, say a few words, share an idea you have, please do get in touch and we'll feature you/it in an upcoming newsletter both on the site and in the email version (which you can sign up to here).
Just a heads up before we get into the news, in case you haven't noticed or have been confused, we've reset the counter on the issue number, in order to align the site and subscription versions. Anyway, on with what you're here for!